HOW TO READ YOUR DATE IN 5 MINUTES
IN New York, you don’t have an entire evening to waste wondering if your date is The One.
But you do have a solid five minutes.
So, in the spirit of keeping painful evenings to a one-drink minimum, we’ve collected the top 20 cues to tell whether tonight’s date is the best thing to ever happen to you – or just another great reason to get an unlisted phone number.
“You have to pay attention to everything that someone makes you feel,” says psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, whose new book, “Deal Breakers,” examines personality types to handle with care. “Feeling possessed, idealized, anxious is not the same as being in love.”
We also don’t have that much control over what traits we’re exhibiting, making it that much easier to break someone down, says Greg Hartley, a former Army interrogator and author of the new body-language tome “I Can Read You Like a Book.”
“Humans are pretty primitive creatures,” he says. “We want to think we’re much more advanced, but we’re not very different than apes. Any time a person’s aroused, you can see in the face the cheeks are flushed, the lips are more full and the pupils will dilate.”
Concludes our third and final five-minute dating expert, Lisa Clampitt, executive director of the Matchmaking Institute in New York: “In the caveman era, they would assess for size and skin color. We’re still back in that world of assessing: Is this person friend or foe?”
With these romantic words in mind, check your stopwatches, and let’s get ready to judge!
No. 1: Is the face all swollen? Unless he’s drunk, then, yes, your date is crazy into you and may not want you to be aware of it. Take advantage of knowing you have the upper hand, and try not to blush.
No. 2: Is this person too perfect? Then he’s too perfect. The sad fact is there are sociopaths out
there, and a lot of guys (and girls) who seem like the “glossy Polaroid” of a mate but are, in reality, people who are pretending to be what you want. Run away as fast as you can.
No. 3: Is the face all white and thin? Then your date is experiencing the “flight or fight” syndrome, and you’re probably in for a stressful night. Even if someone just had a very bad day, this could be a partner who has trouble leaving work at the office.
No. 4: Is the hair extra disheveled? Then you may have an artist, a poet or someone who could be too depressed to even throw a comb through the hair. Approach with extreme caution, or become a fan of Chaucer.
No. 5: Is odd phone-fiddling happening? If you’re out on a date with a man who has “dater’s ADD”
and can’t ignore the Sidekick for even one minute, think about 10 years from now when he forgets to pick up little Tommy after softball practice because of the poker game he has scheduled with
robots. This is a very bad sign.
No. 6: Is your date looking at everyone but you? The singleton with the “wanderer’s eye” can be forgiven if this is just coming out of nervousness, or this could be the mate who cheats on you. Try this test: Move Eyesy McGee to another part of the bar, and if the person is still turning around awkwardly or looking in the mirror, dump this loser after six minutes. No, make that 5 1/2.
No. 7: Is he or she slumped and hunched? Meet the date with no confidence. If there’s one truth about humanity, it’s that we like confidence, and this specimen is going to need a little boost – constantly. If it’s just the first-date jitters, try talking about how interesting you find your date and see if he or she gets better posture – and a little more sexy self-assuredness.
No. 8: Is your date talking out of rhythm with hand movements? Something’s not right here. This is what salesmen, smooth talkers and the Clintons do, because what’s happening in the brain is not in tune with the rest of the body. Don’t trust this candidate.
No. 9: Is there weird pausing? Either your date is flawed when it comes to honesty – or is just being extremely cautious, not necessarily a bad thing. People who are trying to put together their thoughts can be given the benefit of the doubt, but those who are trying to recast their spin like a p.r. executive might be worth only one drink – with one very large grain of salt.
No. 10: Is your date acting too cocky? Then your suitor is actually insecure. The guy busting out
the machismo and strutting around like a rooster near other males, or the competition, is the one who actually doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin. It may be endearing at first, but do you really want a life constantly about to devolve into “Roadhouse”?
No. 11: Is your date really what you’re seeing (or can you see only your ex)? We are creatures of pattern, and what you are looking at (“Oh, look, he picks up the salt – and the waitress – very carefully, just like my ex”) could be a trigger reminding you of a past date or marriage to Donald Trump. Make sure you’re seeing him with clear eyes and not through the lens of your own past experience.
No. 12: Is the conversation being switched every two seconds? Something’s not right here. We can talk about ourselves and our interests very easily, and something is very shady when a person can’t stay focused on their work for a great length of time.
No. 13: Is there a sincere, crinkly-eyed smile? Then your 8 o’clock is having a really good time, and you’re in for many more five minutes to come. If your suitor is giving you the smile of an airline attendant, sorry, but someone is just being polite.
No. 14: Is he only talking about himself? Then he’s only talking about himself, duh. Sure, people like confidence, but play a little game. Don’t ask him any questions, and see how long it takes him to talk about anything but himself. If it’s more than five minutes, order a few tequila shots and tell him it’s part of your “medical condition.”
No. 15: Is he/she super-negative? Gross. If someone can’t find even one thing to be excited or happy about while making a first impression, why not consider lesbianism? Or try acknowledging what a crap day (or life) your date has had, and then say, “But I’m really excited about these margaritas, what about you?”
No. 16: Is he or she super-late? Maybe it was traffic or the subway, so don’t completely rule this date out based on the fact that they don’t value your time enough to have invested in a cab. Seriously, if they’ve got other redeeming qualities, then this can be something people learn to change.
No. 17: Is he sitting close (and you kind of like it)? Amazingly, within the first five minutes, we can develop a strong enough physical chemistry to have the cheeks-flushed, lips-swollen arousal cues where we suddenly lapse into three-quarters rhythm (what happens when it’s “lights, camera, I’d like to have sex with you” time) and start mirroring one another. This is love. Congratulations. You’ve had a very successful five minutes.
No. 18: Is he acting like you asked him out? Psycho alert. This is a classic game that men play when they suddenly start acting like the woman who they are pursuing is the pursuer. If he has asked you on the date and then says, “Well, you’ve really trapped me here,” then he’s divorced from reality and, um, he’s divorced from reality.
No. 19: Is your date corny in making jokes? Seems harmless, right? It’s the basis of many a sitcom. But, no, this is actually a sign that someone doesn’t know how to operate under normal social mores. And someone might never really get or understand you, and you’ll feel even more alone than you do when you’re actually alone. Man, dating rules!
No. 20: Is he acting like he knows you better than you know yourself? Double psycho alert. This is the guy who says, “I bet you don’t react to compliments well,” and other pithy little observations. Expect a lot more bizarre behavior where this came from and don’t forget to always have a girlfriend ready to call you in 15 minutes with a back-out plan. “I’m late for an ‘L Word’ marathon,” works well. Or, if you’re a guy, try, “Aren’t you late for an ‘L Word’ marathon?”